A Magical Birthday Week

That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up

Walt Disney

Henry and I both celebrated milestone birthdays this year. His was in May and mine was the last week of June. Sorry, you’ll have to guess our ages! What better way for two seniors to celebrate than to be kids again. We went to Disney World!

We took our time and stayed off the Interstates on the way to and from Orlando. We even broke up the trip on the way down with a night beside the St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida. Our room overlooked the Veteran’s Memorial Plaza and river walk beside the river. We enjoyed two fabulous waterside meals our first day. Lunch at Skippers in Darien, Georgia is always delicious. Corky Bells on the St. John’s River was crowded but we found two seats at the bar and enjoyed a great dinner.

The next day, our room was ready when we arrived at our resort in Orlando early in the afternoon. Our condo was about 15 minutes from any place we wanted to go at Disney World.

On most trips to Orlando we spend at least one day in one of the theme parks. This was not one of those trips. Our plans for the week were to relax, enjoy the amenities at the resort where we were staying, and get our Disney fix by dining at three Disney restaurants.

Our first Disney dining experience was at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Village Resort. As we explored outside before lunch we had fun reminiscing about our stay there about 40 years ago. Lunch was fabulous!

We weren’t going to a theme park but we still wanted to experience some Disney magic. What better way to do that than to go to Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Character Dinner at the Contemporary Resort on the night before my birthday.

We arrived at the Contemporary Resort about an hour before our reservation. Sipping a cocktail while watching an afternoon thunderstorm over the lake was a nice start to the evening.

Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck all made appearances. As each character walked through the restaurant they stopped in front of each table to wave and pose for pictures. Seeing the excitement in the kids eyes as each character came by was priceless. I don’t know who enjoyed it more – the little kids or us.

It was pouring down rain after dinner but before heading back to our condo we took a monorail ride around the lake.

The next day was my birthday. It would be hard to top dinner with Mickey Mouse but we did. Our lunch in Sanaa Restaurant in Kadani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was amazing. The restaurant overlooks a savanna with giraffes, zebras, impalas, wildebeest, and other animals. Before and after our meal we watched the animals from an overlook outside. Our table was at a window with a great view of the animals as we ate. The meal was the best we had all week and the live entertainment outside the window was perfect.

When we weren’t out eating we enjoyed sitting on our screened in porch overlooking a pond or going to one of the pools. The pond attracted several Florida birds who came to the pond to fish. Great Blue Herons, a little blue heron, egrets, an osprey, and an ibis all made appearances.

We’ve been to Walt Disney World many times since the 1970’s. We learned on this trip that you can have fun without going to one of the theme parks. You are never too old to be a kid at heart!

I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.

Walt Disney

Throwback Thursday #17 – January 23, 2012

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips. This January I am highlighting our January, 2012 snowbird trip to Florida.

Part 4 of our January, 2012 RV trip around Florida

After leaving Everglades National Park we spent a couple of nights in the Big Cypress Swamp before heading north for the rest of our journey back to Georgia. On this day eight years ago, January 23, 2012, we were camped at Alafia River State Park in Lithia, Florida, east of Tampa. A quiet waterfront site on Lake Alafia (pronounced Al-a-FI) was just what we needed.

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Alafia River State Park, Florida

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Alafia River State Park, Florida

Would you believe there is mountain biking in the state of Florida? The state park is located on land which was once a phosphate mine. The mining company donated over 6000 acres to the state for the state park and there are several mountain bike trails on the mounds which were created by the mining. We walked along some of the trails and even saw a few mountain bikers.

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Alafia River State Park, Florida

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Alafia River State Park, Florida

There is also Equestrian camping in the campground and we saw several horses during our stay.

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We met a few horseback riders in the park

Throwback Thursday #16 – January 16, 2012

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips. This January I am highlighting our January, 2012 snowbird trip to Florida.

Part 3 of our January, 2012 RV trip around Florida

On this day eight years ago, January 16, 2012, we were camped in Everglades National Park in Flamingo, Florida. This was the southern most location of our 2012 snowbird journey.

One of our favorite drives in Florida is Highway 41, a National Scenic Byway which goes  from east and west through the Everglades. We stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center in the Big Cypress National Preserve for a look at the alligators before continuing on to the Flamingo Campground in Everglades National Park.

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We stopped at the Oasis visitor center on Highway 41 to check out the alligators

Our first time camping was three years earlier (more about that stay at Throwback Thursday #13 – December 5, 2009). The big difference between our 2009 visit and this visit was they had added electricity to some of the sites. There were only a few electric sites and they were available on a first come basis so we made sure to get there early enough to score the last one! Woo hoo!

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Hawk hanging around the campground in Flamingo

The sunrise was spectacular over Florida Bay.

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Sunrise in Flamingo, Everglades National Park, Florida

The birding was also spectacular.

Flamingo is remote, natural, and wild. My kind of place.

 

Throwback Thursday #15 – January 9, 2012

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips.

Part 2 of our January, 2012 RV trip around Florida

On this day eight years ago,  on January 9, 2012 we were camped in The Glades RV Resort on the Calooshatchee River in Moore Haven, Florida. This large RV park is a popular snowbird destination with a marina, golf course, swimming pool, and many other amenities. It was fun meeting some of the snowbirds who were there for the winter. And the sunrises and sunsets were spectacular! I woke up one morning to see the brilliant fiery sky in the photo at the top of this post.

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The Glades RV Resort, Moore Haven, FL

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Marina at The Glades RV Resort, Moore Haven, FL

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Hawk at The Glades RV Resort, Moore Haven, FL

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The Glades RV Resort, Moore Haven, FL

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Sunset at The Glades RV Resort, Moore Haven, FL

Part 1 of our January, 2012 trip around Florida can be found at last week’s throwback Thursday.

Throwback Thursday #14 – January 2, 2012

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips.

Part 1 of our January, 2012 RV trip around Florida

On this day eight years ago on January 2, 2012, we were camped on the Florida Gulf Coast in St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in Port St. Joe, Florida. It was our second stop of a month long trip wandering around Florida.

Located on the St. Joseph Peninsula on the Emerald Coast of Florida, the beautiful white sand beach was just a short walk from the campsite. The sunsets were spectacular and sometimes we had the beach all to ourselves.

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St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, FL

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St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, FL

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St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, FL

Sadly, the campground suffered a lot of damage from Hurricane Michael in October, 2018. Although the park is recovering, the campgrounds are still closed. More information about the closure can be found here.